It's January 1, 2006. We are on our fourth day of stormy weather here in Northern California. A series of weather systems is lined up across the Pacific, all headed for us, and we have had a very wet and windy several days.

Today, most of the precipitation is well to the north of us. In fact, for the last several hours, we have had no rain. The sky is a threatening dark gray, and it looks vaguely like those supercells back in tornado alley (although not quite as dark or angry). What we have plenty of right now is wind.

I love windy weather. Even as a kid growing up in the Philippines I have always enjoyed being outside when it was windy but not rainy. Every so often we would have typhoons that brought a lot of wind but hardly any rain - those always made me happy. Now that I live here in the SF Bay Area, I look forward to winter storms like this, when the wind is cold and strong.

Today it is very strong. The weather service is reporting sustained winds of 30 mph, with gusts up to 50 mph. I took Devon out for a walk around downtown and had a blast! Windy weather like this is invigorating. The bite of the cold in your face, the pressure trying to blow you down, the sounds of things creaking and groaning as they get blown around. Everything looks crisp, and everything seems alive. Even the light is different during these winter storms. The whole world takes on a silvery tint. Very pretty, in a gothic, brooding kind of way.

Devon didn't look like he was enjoying the 50-mph wind gusts. His ears were blowing everywhere and he probably couldn't get a "fix" on any smell, so I brought him back home after about 20 minutes. I then grabbed my camera and went back outside to snap a few pics.

Here's a photo tour of my little corner of downtown San Jose, during the first winter storm of 2006. Everthing you see here is within walking distance of where I live. All pics should be clickable to make them a little bit bigger.

The Veterans' Memorial. That wall you see is made of etched glass. The white flags represent America's servicemembers who have fallen in the line of duty.

Standing underneath the flags of the memorial (two pics above). On a windy day like today, the sound of the flags flapping in the wind is strangely hypnotic.

A newly planted tree straining against the wind, as the Guadalupe River rushes past, rising towards flood stage slowly but surely.

A little pocket park, with some of the downtown financial buildings in the background.

A deserted Guadalupe River Park, section near the Adobe headquarters.


The San Jose Center for the Performing Arts.

Four flags and an eagle. The flags of the United States, the State of California, Spain, and Mexico are flown here as a little snapshot of California history.

My building, and the naked trees out on the sidewalk.

A Light Rail station, deserted during this stormy day.

Palms that seem to be shivering under the winter sky. A shot of Park Avenue.

Leafless trees in front of Adobe Systems (can you tell I like that building?). That tall building in the background is the San Jose Fairmont Hotel.

Bench and bridge, connecting the Performing Arts Center with the Morgan Stanley building.

Discovery Meadow. That purple building is the Children's Discovery Museum.

Clock tower at the Morgan Stanley building. It chimes on the hour and every 15 minutes.

Some heavy construction thingamajig.